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Drone Program

Drone Certification Prep CourseDrone Logo

Alpena Community College, located in beautiful Northeast Michigan, now offers Unmanned Aerial Systems (Drone) Pilot Exam Prep Courses. FAA regulations require all commercial UAS operators to pass an aeronautical knowledge certification exam. This class is open to anyone interested in becoming a UAS Pilot, regardless of industry application. The potential for licensed UAS pilots is vast, providing an effective tool for occupations in fields such as utility line workers, real estate agents, forestry and agricultural professions, and public safety professionals, just to name a few.

UAS is a growing field and whether you’re an employer wondering how this growing technology can benefit your company, a current student, or a recent grad looking to give yourself that competitive edge, or just someone looking to learn a new skill, let ACC help you! We have two different avenues for students to take to become involved in the UAS field: 1) credit classes and 2) non-credit classes.


Credit Classes
All courses are 1 credit and meet once a week during the Fall and Spring semesters for 5 weeks. Drone Prep Course 07-24-2017
AVI 135 - UAS Pilot Exam Prep
FAA regulations require all commercial UAS operators to pass an aeronautical knowledge certification exam. Unmanned Aerial Systems (Drone) Pilot Exam Prep is open to anyone interested in becoming a commercial UAS Pilot, regardless of industry application, and will prepare students to sit for the FAA Exam (offered at testing sites throughout the state). This course will cover National Airspace, maps, weather, operations and inspections, and professional and ethical behavior in the aviation industry. This is not a hands-on operations course but will provide minimal instruction on operating systems.
AVI 136 - UAS Operations and Safety

Unmanned Aerial Systems (Drone) Operations and Safety is open to anyone interested in a hands-on experience with UASs. Students will learn using a hands-on approach to conduct preflight inspections, program the platforms, and complete successful missions.

AVI - 137 - UAS Payloads and Processing

Unmanned Aerial Systems (Drone) Payloads and Processing introduces students to different types of payloads designed for drone platforms and how to process data collected during a mission. Students will examine FLIR data and process collected data using Datumate software.

Non-Credit ClassesACC offers non-credit course options that can be 2-4 days in length and include any of the topics covered in the credit courses above. Pre-registration is required. Our most popular option is an intense 4-day course that includes both UAS Pilot Exam Prep to prepare students to take the FAA exam, and UAS Operations and Safety to give students a hands-on experience and learn how to safely operate drones.


Alpena Community College Drone Program Overview from ACC TAACCCT Grant Videos on Vimeo.

Drone Program Graduation

Program Instructors
Randy Patterson
Mechanical Engineer
Randy is a mechanical engineer with nearly 40 years of experience as a private pilot of both manned and unmanned aircraft. He is an FAA Certified Flight Instructor and Airframe and Power Plant Inspector.

Gary HollingsworthDrone Instructors
Media Instructional Development Technician
Gary brings 30 years of professional photography and videography experience to the UAS program. He is a licensed UAS pilot specializing in aerial cinematography.

David Cummins

ACC Marine Technology Program Advisor and Instructor 

David has developed Alpena Community College’s Marine Technology program specifically designed to train students as ROV Technicians. David is also a licensed FAA UAS pilot and has done work over the water using 3D photogrammetry with UAS systems. He has over 14 years of industrial experience including, management, design, 3D modeling, and PC based data acquisition and control. In addition, he has also assisted several inventors in the development of their products to obtain patents and has designed industrial components for offshore use.

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